Brisbane Airport BNE Issue 4 - page 13

BNE August/September 2014 |
Brisbane has some of
the best graffiti artists in
the world and their work
can be seen on building
walls and in cafés and
bars across the city as
demand is soaring
from Sydney to Los Angeles, in Buenos Aires,
Argentina and Bogota in Colombia.
Last year Drapl (using the name Quench)
joined Magee and another of Brisbane’s best
graffiti artists Russell Fenn – better known
around the world as Sofles – on a very different
building project. The building was a derelict
storage facility at Everton Park earmarked for
demolition, but not before Sofles, Magee, Drapl
and mate Treas left their mark, covering every
wall as much as possible, painting every day over
almost four weeks. The result, a five-minute
video, called
, and shown in fast time
lapse style directed by Selina Miles, received
more than two million views within 48 hours
of its release. By now it has had more than 8.5
million views.
Even when he’s not working Drapl is often
painting. He says he can’t stop; it’s not just a
hobby or a job, it’s his way of life. He uses all
sorts of tools from the traditional aerosol cans
to garden sprayer bottles, rollers and even a
fire extinguisher. When you see the portraits
that he likes to paint most, with their smooth,
almost perfect features and the detail of light
and shadow effects, his talent seems all the more
He’s on a mission he says to take over Brisbane
with murals, legally, and he wants to change
people’s opinion that graffiti is an art and not
Like Drapl, graffiti artists are self-taught and
while some, like Magee, have later gone on to
study art, most learn by doing and find mentors
among the artists they admire.
It seems there’s no shortage of talent with
Scribble Slam events attracting new artists every
month. Lincoln Savage organises the events
which have been happening every month for
more than a year at Kerbside in the Valley
(just down the road from the new Tryp Hotel)
and they will be starting soon at a venue in
Melbourne. At each event two artists paint
against the clock, and each other, for prizes. The
works are for sale but if they don’t sell, they get
painted over at the next event. So far they have
never had to repeat an artist, says Savage, as
they have a steady stream of artists who want to
Savage would like to host more frequent
events and currently sub-leases a warehouse
in Albion which he’d like to make a regular
performance space but so far costs have been
a roadblock. For now it is used as a studio by
artists and as a part-time rehearsal space for a
theatre company
For more than a decade the only space
in Brisbane that has provided a sanctuary
for graffiti artists – many who have found
themselves on the wrong side of the law – is
Jugglers Art Space in Fortitude Valley run
by Peter Breen. All the graffiti artists who
have found fame now speak highly of Breen
and his work and they support collaborative
projects as often as they can. This year, for the
first time, Jugglers has received funding from
Arts Queensland but, like many arts-based
organisations, they are constantly looking for
financial assistance.
Jugglers provides a self-managed space for
artists to paint, both in open access spaces
and in studios that can be hired or leased by
application. They have workshops in street art
but also host regular classes in other forms of art
including drawing and life drawing. Breen also
seeks out projects for emerging artists to work in
collaboration with some of the ‘stars’ of the art.
They recently finished a project at Wooloowin
Station and another at Creek Street in the city is
coming up.
Main picture: Wall art at Little Street, Fortitude
Valley, and portrait (inset) by Drapl. This page: Art
by Sofles at Jugglers Art Space, Fortitude Valley
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